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Thursday, January 10, 2013

Helpful Things, Strange Things

In the hobby of model railroading, there are many things that are helpful, that people don't usually associate with model trains.  Below I've included a list of items I have used, or saw being used by someone else.  Why would I post this?  Simply for kicks I guess, but someone reading this might pick up a good idea or two.

  1. Drafting equipment:  Drafting equipment such as squares, T squares, pencils, and a ruler are very helpful for creating a design for track arrangements, wiring, lighting, bench work, and structure design.
  2. National Geographic magazines:  Besides providing the occasional inspiration from photographs, these thick magazines make great tools for constructing a model railroad.  They can be used for holding down something to a surface, or for keeping something smooth.  When tore up and crumpled, the pages provide a good scenery support.
  3. Glass:  Glass is a somewhat difficult material to work with as it is fragile.  But for large, home railroads, nothing works better to make quick ware than a textured piece of glass.  I've seen this done in O and G scale before with good results.  The glass can't be flat, but must be textured in a wave pattern.  An added bonus is that the glass can be cleaned to be clear of dust.
  4. Rubber bands:  As long as we're talking about items in larger scales, rubber bands work well for holding things together that are sturdy enough to take the pressure exerted on it by the rubber band.  In G scale, I use a rubber band to hold a  coupler together.
  5. Spray cans:  Pray paint is great tool when used correctly.  I have achieved good looking models with nothing more than 5 dollars of spray paint.  Spray paint can also be used for creating backdrops.  Things like wispy clouds and a hazy horizon look best when done with a spray can (at least in my opinion).
  6. Iron rail:  I'm not talking about the model sized rail, but rather a short section of 85 pound per yard iron rail.  This actual piece of rail can be used to shape plastic and metals for modeling.  Not to mention it makes a good paper weight!
  7. The computer:  okay, the computers' usefulness to a modeler depends on many things.  But the right person with the right computer can do amazing things in the modeling world.  Basic things like modeled signs and track planning can be done on a computer, as can decals, photographic backdrops, mapping, research, and many other things be done with a computer.
  8. A head lamp:  This no-hands flashlight is great in modeling when needing both hands, and an extra light.
  9. Automotive Transmission Fluid (ATF):  ATF gives metals a little extra edge in electrical contact.  Smaller scales benefit from the oil on the tracks as the electrical contact is improved immensely.  That N scale locomotive will never stall again.
  10. Signs:  Okay, we all love to have a sign or two about anything we like, whether it be motorcycles, cars, gasoline, a favorite seed producer, or our political candidates. Modelers also have many railroad related signs to choose from to brighten up the train room. 
I hope this post was on the interesting side, and maybe something here was helpful to you.  THank you for reading.

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